When you or a loved one suffers a serious injury in an auto accident, the entire family may struggle with the impact of an accident. When another driver’s negligence caused the accident, you can seek legal damages for medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with your injury.

These are the answers to the most common questions about suing after an auto accident in Michigan.

When can I file a lawsuit?

The first step is to pursue insurance coverage for your injuries and costs. Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, which means each party’s own insurance coverage pays for his or her own damages. You can only sue the other driver for a settlement above and beyond what your policy pays in the case of:

  • Serious disfigurement
  • Severe impairment of a bodily function, such as speech, mobility or the ability to work
  • Death

What damages can the court award?

You can receive damages for your medical costs as well as current and future wages if you are no longer able to work as a result of the injury. In Michigan, the court does not limit the payout for economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship.

How does fault affect damages?

Michigan uses the modified comparative fault system to determine auto accident liability. If the court finds you share responsibility for the accident, the judge will reduce your damages by the specified percentage. For example, if your settlement is $50,000 but you were 20% at fault for the accident, you will receive $40,000.

What is the statute of limitations for a personal injury suit?

You have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Michigan. If the effects of the accident are not immediately apparent, such as with a traumatic brain injury, the three-year time period starts when a doctor diagnoses your injury.

Talk to an attorney right away if you or a loved one becomes disabled after an auto accident. He or she can provide information about whether you have a legal case.